As the light of day stretches, and the patches of snow on the lawn steadily shrink, there is a provocative whisper in the air…listen…”Spring”, “Spring”, “Spring.” And to that whisper, I boisterously yell, “READY!” “READY!” READY!”
Is it just me, or has this been a winter heavy with sickness and snow…and more sickness…and more snow? So, it is without hesitation that on the first day that the temperature sneaks above 40 degrees, I throw open my windows throughout the house and like a little girl dispersing her wish with a blow on a dandelion, I visualize all the germs and cabin fever doldrums to be sent out the window far, far away. And with the first cool breeze, in comes all the clear, fresh air, bringing with it some much needed clarity…kind of like the clarity that comes within the first moments of recovery from illness. You know, when you feel like you’ve emerged from the depths of yuckiness and your senses are so acute that for a brief time, you actually feel brand-spanking new.
So, as we emerge from our winter of 2011, let’s welcome some clarity. In my house, the clarity that swooshes in comes in on the heels of the 1-2 punch of the stomach bug followed by the flu and, I have to say, it swoops in on the tail of a superhero’s cape, that’s right, a superhero. Whilst in the thick of temperature-taking, bucket-holding, back-rubbing, prayer-sending, tear-wiping, story-telling, fort-building, pharmacy-running, and disinfectant-wiping, there was a zoom-in, “snap this picture” and save it for eternity mom moment that brought everything into focus.
In that moment, I lay across from my 5-year-old son with the palm of my hand cradling his forehead, his hand gripped around my wrist, holding it in place, so as not to lose the warmth and comfort that magically travelled between us. And then he whispered in a sort of plea, “Will you keep your hand there forever?” “Yes,” I answered, touched by the knowledge of what “forever” means to a 5-year-old boy while also cognizant of the fact that this may be the one and only time that I experience a question like this from my son. “Yes,” I say again, “forever.” And as his eyes closed, I noticed that there was more than just the two of us in this bed. Tightly gripped in his hand was his Batman figure. I lay there for a while next to him, feeling his fever gradually fade and etching in my mind the baby-like fingers holding that little blue and gray Batman. This is when I realized how much I have learned this winter and how much I have yet to learn.
For now, I can say with confidence that this is what I have learned (in no particular order): I’ve learned to always keep these things in the pantry and medicine cabinet: Gatorade, ginger ale, Saltines, and children’s ibuprofen and acetaminophen. I’ve learned that a good reliable thermometer is worth spending a few extra bucks on. And oh, yes, I’ve learned on a recent trip to the emergency room at the children’s hospital, and sorry if this is too much information, but, in order to get an accurate temperature on a child under 2, you must take a rectal temperature (so, spring for 2 thermometers.)
I’ve learned that even in my 30s and with my own family, I still think of my mom the moment I get sick and put out a call to her within minutes of the onset of symptoms. I’ve learned that the smell of Vicks vapor rub and the Pepto-Bismol colored plastic “throw up bucket” are, like it or not, extremely nostalgic. I’ve learned that a husband can triple his attractiveness by “holding down the fort” while mom is sick.
And speaking of forts, I’ve learned that a couch with lots of cushions and a bunch of blankets can transform your living room, your mood, and your day, in so many different ways. I’ve learned that the computer, the television, the smart phone, and the piles of laundry all fade away in the presence of the true meaning of “going viral.” I’ve learned that I love the promise of the change of seasons. And yes, I have learned that I, too, believe in the power of superheroes.
What have you learned this winter?